General strike in Israel

A general strike has broken out in the Israeli public sector following the collapse of negotiations.

Submitted by DM on November 29, 2006

A general strike has broken out in the Israeli public sector with airports, ports, government offices, and post offices all being shut down.

Histadrut, (General Federation of Labour), has called a strike in response to violations in agreements between the union and local and religious authorities. Histadrut is claiming these authorities are in arrears over salaries and employers money due to be paid into pensions funds has disappeared.

Last minute negotiations on Tuesday night between the chair of Histadrut Ofer Eini, the Finance Minister Avraham Hirchson and Interior Minister Roni Bar-On failed to avert strike action. Ofer Eini has now declared, "I no longer believe in the ministers. They’ve used up all their credit as far as I’m concerned".

It was predicted yesterday that all government offices, all airports and seaports, all railways, all local authorities and all garbage collection workers would be on strike from 6 am on Wednesday.

The strike is estimated to cost the Israeli economy NIS 500 million a day. It is being reported by The Jerusalem Post that The Manufacturers Association and the Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce already appealing to the courts to halt the strike.

There is also some limited action in the Israel Lands Administration, the National Insurance Institute (NII), the electric company, and the Bezeq phone company.

Initial reports suggest support for the strike has been solid among workers' with only some government offices at the Interior Ministry refusing to join the strike.

Although this is currently not being reported by any major Western news media British Airways passengers are currently stranded in Israel according to another report from The Jerusalem Post. A British Airways flight attempted to take off after the strike had begun and unionised workers refused permission for the flight to precede although the Israel Airports Authority had allowed the flight to leave. The flight returned to Britain without any passengers just after midday today.